Newly captured drone video is providing a better idea of how much damage a Santee neighborhood sustained Monday when a small plane crashed into two homes, killing its pilot and a local UPS delivery employee who was on the job.
Footage taken by NBC 7 shows the extent of the damage the two homes off Greencastle and Jeremy Streets took in the crash. From the video, blackened debris remains where two houses once stood – one which was owned by Maria and Phil Morris and was completely destroyed, and the other which was badly damaged and purchased just five months earlier by newlyweds Courtney and Cody Campbell.
Black marks on the street in front of the homes also serve as a remnant of where a UPS delivery truck burned, killing longtime employee Steve Krueger.
It’s been an emotional week for residents in the neighborhood and other Santee community members, who have offered helping hands and words of support to those affected.
James Slaff-Gruel, son of the Morris couple, said he will never forget how his parents’ neighbors came together to rescue them from their burning home.
“It’s very surreal,” Slaff-Gruel said. “You don’t…there’s no words to express what you are feeling. Just deep gratitude for the people who helped saved their lives and the community, who’s rallying around them and our families.”
Neighbors pulled Maria Morris out of the house from a window while others broke a hole in the fence so Phil Morris could get to safety in the street. The heroic effort was captured in awe-striking video.
The couple suffered second-and-third-degree burns in the blaze and remain hospitalized.
Dr. Sugata Das, a San Diego resident who was a Yuma Regional Medical Center cardiologist in Arizona for more than 15 years, was piloting the ill-fated plane. The tragedy also killed UPS employee Steve Krueger, who was in his delivery truck when the plane clipped the vehicle just moments before it crash-landed.
Photos: Small Plane Crashes in Santee, California
On Tuesday, three investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived in Santee to begin their probe on the crash. A spokesperson from the agency said a preliminary report of the investigators’ findings is expected to publish sometime around Oct. 26 – 15 days after the crash.
They added that investigations involving fatalities typically take 12 to 24 months to complete.